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Black Sox Scandal

Black Sox Scandal

Charles Comiskey Card, c. 1915
On October 1, 1919, the Chicago White Sox, whom many observers believed to be one of the best baseball teams ever, lost the opening game of the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, nine to one. This shocking defeat was an omen, for the White Sox lost the series five games to three. A year later, fans found out why. Several team members testified in a Chicago courtroom that they had intentionally thrown the World Series through an arrangement with a nationwide gambling syndicate. Eight White Sox players, including star pitcher Eddie Cicotte and renowned outfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, were charged with conspiracy to defraud the public, conspiracy to commit a confidence game, and conspiracy to injure the business of team owner Charles A. Comiskey. The trial lasted 14 days, and on August 2, 1921, the jury found the players not guilty, clearing them of all charges. Despite their acquittal, newly appointed baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis expelled all eight players from major league baseball in an attempt to assure the American public of the purity of the game. The story of the betrayal and expulsion of the “Black Sox,” and the sense of injustice it provoked, has maintained a powerful hold on American popular culture, and has been memorialized in literature and film.

Asinof, Eliot. Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series. 1963.
Burk, Robert F. Never Just a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball to 1920. 1994.
Riess, Steven A. Touching Base: Professional Baseball and American Culture in the Progressive Era. 1980.